Columbo (1971) s06e03 Episode Script

The Bye-bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case

You're a thief! Those were gunshots! This is Peter Falk.
Here are some scenes from the next episode of Columbo.
All the members are tested.
And they have to rate in the top two percent.
Here I've been talking with the most intelligent people in the world and I never even noticed.
It might have been a woman.
I think he was killed before we heard the shots.
The shots we heard were on that record.
It's a terrific puzzle.
I wasn't that bright.
So there I was, me, a welder, in the Sigma Society, with an IQ right at the top of the scale.
And my first thought was, "What a crummy world, where somebody as smart as me" "is nothing but an ordinary welder.
" Then I I got my head straight and I figured it out that it was a pretty sensational world where even welders got a high enough IQ to be in a Sigma Society.
Not that there's anything wrong with being a welder.
Because I'm gonna tell you right now that there's nobody in this room can even begin to do what I can do.
You know what I heard about the Sigma Society? I heard that with all your brains, the one thing you can't figure out, the one problem you can't solve is what you're all doing here.
I mean what we're all doing here.
You've got me crying for you And as I sit here and sigh Says I, "I can't believe it's true" Boo-hoo, I tell my mama on you The little game that you played Has made her baby oh so blue You left me in the lurch You left me waiting at the church Boo-hoo That's why I'm crying for you Someday you'll feel like I do And you'll be boo-hoo-hooir too Boo-hoo You've got me crying for you And as I sit here Thank you, Mike, thank you.
Jason, in all due respect to Mike's lecture on feelings of inadequacy I thought we were gonna hear from a computer engineer on intelligent machines.
May I ask the program chairman if he still intends to bring in outside guests? I'm afraid I was very busy at the office today.
Didn't have time.
Try to do better.
Thank you, Mike, thank you, Mr.
Wagner, thank you, Bertie.
For new business, ladies and gentlemen, I have the committee report on neighborhood crime.
They strongly recommend the purchase of a burglar alarm.
Miss Eisenback has prepared a study of the various units available, the advantages, disadvantages Good evening, Mr.
Good heavens, I am late.
Prices and so on.
Oliver, we were just discussing a burglar alarm.
Dear me.
I didn't know we had anything won'th stealing.
Unless, of course, it's Bertie's incredible brain power.
I understand the Russians have been after him again.
Huh? Huh? Hey! Okay, gang.
That's it.
Meeting's adjourned.
That, my dear, is the total history of Bertie's life.
Does the joke always have to be at my expense? You two at it, again? Again and forever.
Friends forever.
Partners forever.
Right, Bertie? Bertie.
There's a good little fellow.
Something wrong? I think I just drank my contact lens.
It's there.
I found it.
I'm sorry.
Always sorry.
What are you up to, Caroline? Making an inventory of everything in the house.
For the insurance.
Don't you have to go around to look at things? Don't have to look.
I remember.
While this wine was still in a French cellar, you, Caroline, were being put together by a confluence of data processors and memory banks.
Oliver, I have to talk to you.
I want to talk to you, too, Bertie.
Pick a page.
Pick a number.
Come along, Bertie.
To the library.
The drinks are on Bertie or on me.
A dollar says Brandt wins again.
It's only luck, you know.
Page 237, correct? Yes.
Word? All right.
Here we are.
Carina or carina.
Six letters.
Drinks are on you, Bertie.
We seem to have forgotten our biology.
Carina is a part resembling a ridge as on the projection on the breastbone of a bird.
And that is the word for today.
I didn't come up here to play games, Oliver! Nor did I, Bertie.
You've always enjoyed tormenting me.
Don't be a fool.
School, college, even our own firm.
I've always been the butt of your jokes.
I've always been your friend, Bertie.
Surely you know that.
Come on, Bertie, I never taunted you.
I only tickled you.
Stop that! Stop! Will you? Stop it! Stop it! No! I'm through running! I know.
I know.
I know what you've been doing in the office, Oliver.
I know how you've been stealing from our clients.
I took the trouble to examine your accounts.
I know you have.
I'm well aware of it.
Oh? Are you aware that I intend to expose you? Well, in that case, I intend to kill you.
We were friends.
I could never hurt you.
I couldn't hurt you either.
You're a thief! Bertie.
You can't threaten me out of it! I'll tell the whole world what you are! What a pity.
Oliver, I'm talking to you! Yes, I hear you.
I hear you, old friend.
I really did love you, Bertie.
Yeah? Who? Long distance? Tonight, children, the drinks are on Bertie.
Congratulations again, Oliver.
What was the word, Mr.
Brandt? Carina.
C-A-R Well, with a capital 'C', Carina is a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere.
This was not capitalized.
Well, then it's like the breastbone on a bird.
Phone's for you, Miss Eisenback.
That's my daddy.
I've been trying to reach him.
It's his birthday.
She's been waiting for his call.
Oliver got lucky again.
Daddy? Why don't we got out and get the living room put back in order? Why not indeed? Come on, come on.
You watch that drink.
I'll watch it.
The club's insured through you, isn't it? Yes, and very well.
Fire? Theft? The works.
It's wonderful here.
The weather is so nice.
Then if we are already covered, why on earth bother spending all this money on a burglar Those were gunshots! Bertie! Bertie! Bertie! Oh, my God! Bertie.
Unlock it.
Take Caroline downstairs.
I think he's dead.
You mustrt look.
You better leave.
Come on.
Oh, my.
Oh, my.
Could you all go inside, please? Would you like a drink, Oliver? What? No, no.
Well, it's clear enough some neighborhood hoodlum finally broke in.
What was Bertie trying to protect? A few bucks in his wallet? His manood? I mean, what? Excuse me.
Brandt? Yes.
Would you come with me, please? Are you guys all done in there? Yeah.
He's wrapping it up.
Good night, Sergeant.
Good night, George, Harry.
Now, would you just wait here please, Mr.
Brandt? May I ask why? Sure.
Somebody will be along.
They know who did it? No! Oliver Brandt, sir? Lieutenant Columbo, Homicide.
I thought maybe you'd like to be up here away from all those people down there, being that the victim was your friend and partner.
I'm really quite upset.
I do appreciate the courtesy.
This Sigma Society, sir, I understand it's some kind of a club.
But to tell you the truth I don't understand what kind of a club it is.
Why it's a private club.
We're just one chapter.
All the members are tested.
And they have to rate in the top two percent.
Two percent of what, sir? Why, intelligence, Lieutenant.
Top two percent in the world? Is that what the pin means, sir? Here I've been talking with the most intelligent people in the world and I never even noticed.
May I ask, sir, what is it that you people do in a place like this? Well, we meet, discuss, enjoy each ether's company.
Scientists? Not necessarily.
Like a think tank? No, no, no.
Nothing nearly as grand, Lieutenant.
People come to Sigma from all walks of life, all kinds, all types.
There are 20,000 of us around the world.
We're really quite ordinary.
Except for this.
Well But you're not ordinary.
Brandt and Hastings.
That's a very important accounting firm, sir.
I heard of them.
Well, very kind of you, Lieutenant.
But, it's quite true.
We handle We Oh, dear.
Well, just a few minor questions, sir.
Some of the ladies say that they heard music coming from up here.
Bertie must have put on a record on after I left.
You see, we were playing a word game, looking things up in the dictionary.
On the floor, sir? He must have put it on the floor.
You mean to tell me, Mr.
Brandt, that these very intelligent people still like to play with trains? Some of us do.
Poor Bertie did.
Well, I'll tell you, that's a relief to hear.
Because I'll tell you the truth, I could play with something like that forever.
Caroline Treynor.
That's the one.
I beg you Our youngest member.
She's a member too? Fourteen? Amazing.
Now, Caroline, she was standing in that doorway there.
And she says she didn't hear any footsteps going down those stairs.
Now, everybody else heard the burglar.
That is, the man that killed Mr.
May I ask you, sir, what did you hear? I don't remember.
Don't remember.
Thirty seconds.
Exactly what I got when I timed it.
We didn't start up there the second we heard the shots.
That's right.
We were stunned for eight Maybe 10 seconds.
That means between the time that you heard the shots and the time you arrived in the library.
Is that right, excuse me, Mr Jason Danziger.
I'm the president.
Then when you arrived in the library you saw the other door slam shut.
Now, when you heard someone running away, did he go down the stairs one step at a time, two at a time, how? One at a time.
You don't agree, madam? No, no, no, no.
At least two at a time.
He was really flying.
Heavy man, sir? I'd say so.
Do you agree, sir? Not necessarily.
Average man.
He sounded light to me.
I think he was a woman.
Well, that clears that up.
I must say, after this dreadful affair, it would be a comfort to have a policeman as a member.
Lieutenant, do you happen to know your IQ? Mine, sir? Oh, no, sir.
No, they took it in the Army but they never told us.
I'm certainly not in your league, sir.
You might astonish yourself.
Do you enjoy riddles, puzzles, that sort of thing? Well, I enjoy them, yes, sir, I do.
But I don't have any feel for them.
Now, Mrs.
Columbo, she's a whiz at crossword puzzles.
Here's my car, sir.
You might consider testing yourself.
Lieutenant, I'm gonna give you a little problem, to test your powers of logical thinking.
That'll be fine, sir.
It's what we call a minimum information problem.
Minimum information? Practically none.
Now, in a room, are several sacks of gold pieces, as many sacks as you like.
Each sack contains several of these gold pieces.
Again, as many as you like.
Got it.
One sack, however, is full of artificial gold pieces.
And they weigh differently.
Now, the solid gold pieces weigh Let's say, a pound each.
And the artificial pieces weigh whatever you like.
Well, what about a pound and an ounce? Splendid.
Why not? Now, you have a penny scale.
So I put the penny in and I get a card and that tells me how much the weight of the gold is? Exactly.
But you only have one penny.
Now, which sack has the artificial gold pieces? That's it? That's it.
That's a hell of a puzzle.
Gee whiz.
You know, I got a puzzle myself, sir.
As I understand it, you people, you were all downstairs when you heard the shots and you ran upstairs to the library.
And that took about 40 seconds.
But during that time, all the killer had to do was take the wallet out of your partner's pocket and remove the money.
Ten seconds.
What did he do with the rest of the time? I mean, 30 seconds, sir.
That's a long time to hang around after you just killed a man.
Yes, a logical question.
Very good.
I agree with you.
I'm gonna think about that puzzle, Mr.
You can count on that.
Good night, sir.
Good night.
Oliver, is that you? Yes, love.
How do you like it? I bought it for you.
Quite lovely.
You're moody again.
You look exhausted.
What's that? What? What is it? Just some mud.
What have you been up to? There.
Oliver, are you all right? No.
Vivian, it's Bertie.
He's dead.
What? At the club.
He was in the library.
He was alone.
A burglar got in.
Oh, Oliver.
Shot him twice.
The police came.
You must be feeling awful.
I was always the lucky one.
He had no one.
He had us.
I have you.
Poor Bertie.
We must put Bertie out of our minds.
We'll take a trip.
We'll buy some clothes.
I'm sure you will.
You have been behaving very strangely lately.
My best friend is dead, Vivian.
But, darling, we're alive.
Let's enjoy life while we can.
I don't want to spend it watching your grieving, dismal, sweet, intelligent face.
Quite right.
Please forgive me.
I wonder if you'd be kind enough to tell me where I might find Mr.
Brandt's office.
Through the double doors.
Brandt's secretary will help you.
Thank you very much, madam.
Excuse me, I'm looking for Mr.
Brandt's secretary.
He'll be right back I'm George Campanella.
May I help you? No, no, no, sir.
Just waiting for Mr.
Well, he's not my responsibility.
Not anymore.
He'll be right back.
Just have a seat.
Yes, can I help you? Thank you very much, sir.
Just waiting for Mr.
Brandt's secretary.
As of today, I am Mr.
Brandt's secretary.
You are? I just met Mr.
Oh, I am sure you did.
My predecessor considers himself quite a big deal.
Is that a fact? I'm Lieutenant Columbo, sir, police.
And you are Alvin.
Alvin Metzler.
Until last night, I worked for Mr.
A fine man.
I hope he rests in peace.
This is about Mr.
Hastings? Yes, sir.
Bertie Hastings, the deceased.
I'm looking for Mr.
Brandt took an early lunch.
Sometimes he walks in the park across the street.
South side of the building.
South side of the building.
Thank you very much.
What is that, womers lib in there? They don't let ladies do that kind of work anymore? It's still legal.
The partners prefer male secretaries.
Graduate accountants.
That way they learn the business and they move up.
Now why didn't I think of that? Then they get secretaries, right? Girl-type secretaries.
This fellow, George, the one that I just met in there, he used to work for Mr.
I guess he just got promoted.
A full-fledged accountant.
I hope Alvin was polite to you in there because he's very upset.
So Alvin thinks he should've gotten promoted? Who can figure bosses? You know, sir, that new secretary of yours, that's a man you can really depend upon, that Alvin? Alvin? Yes, Alvin.
He tells me how much you like to come to the park after lunch, and here you are, just like he said.
Mind if I walk along, sir? No, no.
I'd be delighted.
I also met your other secretary, the one that's the accountant now.
Yes, George.
Would you do me a big personal favor, sir? My pleasure.
You see, I have this nephew, he's studying to be an accountant.
Isn't that terrific? Yeah.
I mean, the young people today, you know, all they wanna be is movie stars and football players.
Now this boy, he wants to be an accountant.
And I said to myself, "Who could give me better advice to pass along to my nephew than Mr.
Brandt?" I mean, you know firsthand how this fellow George worked himself up.
Well, that's because our firm has a policy of rewarding skill and dedication rather than seniority.
As far as your nephew is concerned, I suggest he gets all the education that he can and then, when he starts to work, to apply himself assiduously.
Brandt, thank you very much.
That's very good advice.
And I am going to Where did you get the ice cream cone, sir? From a vendor across the park.
Well, I was gonna get one, but that's too far.
Look at that, sir.
Today is my lucky day.
I'll be right back.
Delicious, sir.
Just delicious.
Yes, I know, Lieutenant.
I'm thoroughly addicted.
That must explain the umbrella, sir.
My umbrella? Well, it's such a beautiful day, sir.
I have to figure that you always carry an umbrella.
Another addiction, sir.
Excuse me.
Well, actually no, Lieutenant.
I had forgotten my umbrella at the Sigma Club and I stopped by to fetch it.
Well, now I suppose you're wondering why I should bother on such a lovely day.
That's what I was asking.
The umbrella, yes, sir.
In order to serve, an umbrella must be available at the first collision of seasonal clouds.
The debut of a California drizzle.
Now then, we must consider.
Where shall I be when the first rain strikes? Shall I be at home? In the office? In my car? Shall I be at the club? At lunch? Now we're dealing in probabilities.
Right, sir.
Options, you might say.
Options indeed.
Now, in the final analysis, I spend just 13 hours per day at my residence.
However, there are other factors to be considered in this equation.
Time at the office, time at the club, time en route, and, dear me, we have not even mentioned weekends.
Time on the golf course.
On top of that, I may be called upon at any hour of the day or night to confer with a client.
Where then should one keep an umbrella ready for instant use? Upon consideration of these and other variables, I have come to the conclusion, sir, that the one, the only proper place to lodge an umbrella, giving one the best play in the game of avoiding being rained upon, that place is precisely at home.
Good day, Lieutenant.
Yes, what is it, George? These private accounts you were interested in, sir.
I thought, what, with this being tax season, you might prefer to work on them at home, at your convenience.
Yes, how very thoughtful of you, George.
Why don't you drop them by this evening on your way home? I'd be happy to.
I have a theory, Lieutenant.
I know how the murderer did it.
There never was any burglar.
Somebody planned to kill Mr.
Planned? You really think so? I think he was killed before we heard the shots.
Because we never heard the real shots.
The shots we heard were on that record.
On the record.
Shots on the record.
I don't know.
I mean that's a very good idea, but I just played that record four separate times.
I don't suppose I could've missed those shots.
But I could play it again and see.
That's okay, Lieutenant.
I didn't realize you played the record at all.
Well, you keep thinking, Caroline.
I can use all the help I can get.
And anyone who can come up with an idea as good as the one that you just had can also come up with the answer.
And I'm gonna tell you something else.
You not only have a terrific mind, you're also a remarkably pretty girl.
You know something, Lieutenant? That's the very first time anybody ever told me they liked me for my body instead of my mind.
Excuse me! I'm sorry.
Forgive me, sir.
Well, it's a funny thing, you know.
You're just the person that I was looking for.
Would you mind stepping inside for just one moment, sir? I was looking for you too, Lieutenant.
What a coincidence.
Let me ask you something, sir.
That big dictionary on the floor, does that look peculiar to you? Well, it should be on the stand.
That's what I thought.
And another thing.
The medical examiner says that both bullets entered the body at exactly the same angle.
Now if the killer fired and then the body fell.
Then he fired again, like you all heard Then the bullets would've entered at different angles.
Yes, I would say so, sir.
That goes right along with my suicide theory.
Suicide? You mean he shot himself in the chest, then fell to the floor, then did it again? One thing, sir.
How did he get rid of the gun? Part of his plan.
He had to.
Had to? Get rid of the gun.
I sold Bertie his life insurance.
There's a suicide clause in the policy.
If I can ever be of any help Suicide clause.
I can guess what that is.
If he kills himself your company doesn't pay.
So he had to hide the gun.
Now, I think he had it on some sort of elastic tether.
Elastic? Oh, that's very interesting.
He fired the first shot, the rigging probably triggered the second shot.
And the gun just snapped away.
Where to, sir? Two possibilities.
Out the window.
Screen on the window.
I don't know how the gun Then, if you'll take the trouble to glance up the chimney, I am sure you'll find the gun.
You're not gonna believe this, sir.
But I You see, I You already checked up there? Don't get me wrong, sir.
I never thought of the gun being on the elastic.
I mean, I just happened to look up there I mean, it was just because the All the lab boys, you know, they were vacuuming the rug and they said that there was powder carbon around.
Well, anytime, Lieutenant.
Oh, you poor man.
Why didn't you park in the driveway? Well, I have an oil leak in my car, madam, and Wouldn't you know it.
Just tonight my wife decided to try out a new spot remover for my raincoat.
Why don't you put your umbrella over there? Do sit down, Lieutenant.
Oh, would you look at that? That's the same Victrola that they have down at the Sigma Club.
Yes, Oliver donated it.
One of his clients makes them.
You know, the one at the club is working very funny.
Every time you push the play button the needle drops down right in the middle and always in the same spot.
Oh, I think I can explain that.
It has a computer.
A memory.
So, say you wanted to play a Sinatra record.
How about this one? Really, Inspector? Well, why not? Well Say you wanted to hear the second and the fifth track of a record.
You can set this, so that it skips all the others.
Just by pushing those buttons? You can even set it so that it plays the same track over and over again.
And it also switches itself off.
Isn't that something? A glass of wine, Lieutenant? Oh, thank you very much, sir.
Sir, here I am, playing with this beautiful machine and What a coincidence.
What I was going to ask you, sir, was the murderer wouldn't have put the record on up in the library, and you didn't do it.
So that means Mr.
Hastings did it.
Now did your friend have any particular liking for Tchaikovsky? Bertie had a tin ear.
He understood nothing and liked everything.
Tchaikovsky included.
That's exactly what your secretary Alvin said.
I see.
Well, I suppose Alvin would know.
He was with Bertie for almost a year.
It's getting very late, sir.
But you haven't touched your wine.
Some other time, madam.
Thank you very much.
I'll see you out.
One more question, sir.
About those sacks of gold.
If I put them all on the scale and then take them off one by one.
You use your penny.
You get a card.
You have one reading on the weight.
Got it.
I'm gonna work on that tonight with Mrs.
Good night, Lieutenant.
I'm Suzy.
Hi, Suzy.
I've tried Esalen, Primal Scream, Pyramid Power, Synanon, a black mass in San Francisco, open marriage, est, TA, TM, I'm OK, You're OK, and I'm still a target.
Lieutenant Columbo, sir.
We've met.
Nice to see you here.
It's really very crowded here, madam.
I'm terribly sorry.
I enjoyed it.
I'm Suzy.
He's George.
How'd you find me? Alvin? I don't like to talk behind people's backs, sir, but I don't think Alvin likes you very much.
Now do you come here often, Lieutenant? No, madam.
My first time.
Listen, what else did he tell you, Lieutenant? I can tell, sir, that you're the kind of man that has a lot of terrific plans for himself.
But I think you ought to think about something.
Let me buy you a drink, Lieutenant.
Thank you very much, madam, but I'm working.
As a matter of fact, I can't think of a time when I wasn't working.
You see, sir, here I am telling you something, sir.
Any accountant who is aware of a felony, he becomes an accessory to that felony unless he reports it to the proper authorities.
I like the way you wear your hair.
What I'm saying is Oh, thank you very much, madam.
I like the way you wear yours.
What I'm trying to say, George, is I really don't think you're gonna be able to make it to the top with a police record.
I don't think so.
Goodbye, Lieutenant.
You have some very interesting friends.
I wish I were dead.
You bought that here? No, I bought it in the donut shop because I was gonna eat it in the elevator, but then I saw my friend here and I'm really terribly sorry.
Well, let me see.
Let's see now.
I can come back.
No, no, no, I'll have I'll have a donut.
I thought about what you said, Lieutenant.
Sir, if it'll be of any help to you, I know that Mr.
Brandt lost lots of money on some stock options.
Alvin again? So Mr.
Brandt needed money.
Have you met Mrs.
Brandt? Yes.
I went back to the office one night.
He was Mr.
Hastings' secretary at the time.
Well, there he was, replacing some files in Brandt's office.
Confidential accounts that Brandt handled personally.
Now this is when you were still Mr.
Brandt's secretary, right? That's right.
Why would Alvin fiddle around with your boss's accounts? Because Hastings told him to bring him the files.
He must've suspected that his partner was engaged in some creative bookkeeping.
Will that be all? Yes, very nice.
Thank you.
Creative bookkeeping? You see, most of our work is corporate.
But Brandt likes to handle some of the individual accounts himself.
Old clients, mostly widows.
Are these widows, sir, wealthy? Loaded.
I checked the files and ran some computer printouts.
And what's the bottom line, sir? Brandt has been sifting funds from his clients' accounts.
A very nifty job.
So you told your boss that Mr.
Hastings knew what he was doing? Congratulations on your promotion, sir.
I'm always glad to cooperate, Lieutenant.
Oh, good morning, sir.
I was just explaining to the Lieutenant that Sit down, George.
Finish your grapefruit.
I think I can guess what you were explaining.
More tips for your nephew, right, Lieutenant? Right, sir.
George was telling me exactly how a young accountant gets ahead.
Take my seat, sir.
He wasn't talking about his nephew, sir.
It's Alvin again.
Good morning, Mr.
I What? Good morning again, sir.
I thought you'd rather talk up here.
You're at my desk.
Oh, sorry, sir.
You realize this is our busiest time of the year.
I understand, sir.
And I wouldn't bother you, but I'm afraid that Mr.
Hastings might have been involved in some nasty things around here, sir.
I know this is hard to believe, sir.
But I happen to know that he had his secretary take some account files from your office.
Alvin? Are you suggesting a conspiracy between Bertie and Alvin? I hate to say this, sir, but Mr.
Hastings might have been doctoring those accounts.
This comes as a terrible shock to me, Lieutenant.
You'll have to excuse me.
Oh, yes, sir.
I understand.
You'll certainly need time to think.
What is it? I owe it to myself to express my dissatisfaction.
I was clearly in line for the position that you gave George.
You dare tell me your position in this firm.
You niggling little twit.
You self-serving ambitious lout.
Maybe Mr.
Hastings took this abuse from you, but I certainly will not! And you'll take it, too, Alvin, twentyfold.
You'll be a secretary here until you're old and gray.
And if you try to work anywhere else, I'll pull so many strings that you'll strangle in them.
But that's Now, go back to your desk! Suddenly, Alvin, you're a great, choking stench in my life.
Get out! What was that? What? Well, the whole house shook.
The world is crumbling.
What do you expect? What is wrong with you? I have been betrayed, pursued, and threatened by innuendo.
The least I could hope for is some understanding from my wife.
It's the new negligee I bought.
Is that it? It is everything you have bought.
We are in trouble.
Oh, and of course it's my fault.
Well, you are the mother of my predicament.
And now, little Oliver wants to be mothered.
Is that it? I want what is due me! Some affection, understanding, gratitude.
Support in the worst of times.
I don't know what you're talking about.
I have embezzled funds! And I did it for you.
Oliver, I've never understood about business.
I belong to another part of your life.
Do you understand what I am telling you? No.
And I don't think I want to.
Oliver Brandt.
Brandt, this is Sergeant Kline.
Lieutenant Columbo and Sergeant Burke would appreciate it if you'd come by the Sigma Club right away.
Oh, there you are.
Is that you, Mr.
Brandt? It is, Lieutenant.
Come on up, Mr.
You need anything else, sir? No, that's fine.
Good night, Sergeant.
Good night, Lieutenant.
Oh, just in time, sir.
I want you to see this.
Now I want you to see what happens, sir, when the record finishes.
It was really very thoughtful of you, sir, to give this Victrola to the club.
Well, I I enjoy giving pleasure.
I hope those explosions didn't frighten you, sir.
Just experimenting.
Now watch.
It glides across the record and it goes to this point right here.
Then it goes back again, past this point here, right here.
And then it goes all the way back again and it rests on this whatchamacallit.
Now, I want you to notice this, sir.
Here on this whatchamacallit.
Right here.
Funny little scratches.
Here and here.
Do you see those, sir? Yes.
A tiny clamp with teeth.
Sergeant Burke thinks baby alligator clamps.
Now a funny thing.
You remember Miss Eisenback got a long distance call? Yes, from her father.
In Memphis.
The call came in just after you left Mr.
Hastings and went downstairs.
Lieutenant Columbo And then the call was interrupted.
She had to hang up when she heard the shots.
If you say so.
Here it is.
I got this from the South Central Bell Telephone Company in Memphis.
Here's the call from her father.
The date.
How long they talked.
All right.
They talked four minutes.
Which is almost exactly the same length of time that the record player is set for.
I'm going to push the play button.
Notice that the arm doesn't start at the beginning.
It starts in the middle.
And if you let that play, sir, it will take four minutes.
And it does it every time.
Lieutenant, is this what you called me out for? No, sir.
Not quite.
To tell you the truth, sir, I have another reason.
I know exactly what you did and how you did it.
The gold sack puzzle, sir.
Columbo figured it out.
You said that there were these sacks of gold in a room and that one of the sacks was filled with phony gold.
And that the phony gold weighed more than the real gold.
And that I had a penny scale but only one penny.
And therefore only one chance to weigh anything.
And I had to figure out which of the sacks had the phony gold.
Am I right so far, sir? Yes.
All right.
Well, let's just say there were three sacks because I happen to have three sacks here.
And we'll make believe that this chocolate is the gold.
And each real gold piece weighs one pound.
But one of these sacks has the phony gold.
And the phony gold weighs one pound and one ounce.
Am I right up to here, sir? Satisfactory so far.
Follow me, sir.
We're going to the scale.
And here's the scale.
Now, one bag, two bags, three bags.
Now we take one piece from bag one.
We take two pieces from bag two.
We take three pieces from bag three.
How many pieces is that, sir? Six.
So far so good.
We take all six pieces.
We put them on the scale.
Now if that were a regular scale and if all six pieces were the real gold, it would weigh six pounds.
But if the first bag had the phony pieces, it would weigh six pounds and one ounce because I only took one piece from the first bag.
And if the second bag had the phony gold pieces it would weigh six pounds and two ounces because I took two pieces from the second bag.
Bravo, Lieutenant.
And if the third bag were the phony bag, it would weigh six pounds and three ounces and so on and so on and so on.
Sir It's a terrific puzzle.
Must be fun playing with these trains.
It'd be terrific if we just had the time, right, sir? Yes, it would be nice.
You know, sir, it's a funny thing.
All my life I kept running into smart people.
I don't just mean smart like you and the people in this house.
You know what I mean.
In school there were lots of smarter kids.
And when I first joined the force, sir, they had some very clever people there.
And I could tell right away that it wasn't gonna be easy making detective as long as they were around.
But I figured that if I worked harder than they did, and put in more time, read the books, kept my eyes open, maybe I could make it happen.
And I did.
And I really love my work, sir.
I can tell you do.
If there's one thing I've learned, Lieutenant, it's that we all have a cross to bear.
Including those of us who seem most fortunate.
My problem is just the opposite.
Born smart, as they say.
A blessing, you'd think.
I had no real childhood.
I was an imitation adult.
'Cause that's what was expected of me.
Most people don't like smart people.
Most children despise smart children.
So, early on, I had to hide my so-called gift, conceal it from my own brothers and sisters, my classmates, in the service.
Painful, lonely years.
You know, sir, I never thought of that.
I wonder if all those early bitter memories had something to do with my recent discovery that I simply no longer care even for my fellow intelligentsia in this club.
I find them eccentric bores.
Brandt, now I've got a puzzle for you.
Man "A" wants to kill Man "B.
" What am I told? It's kind of a minimum information problem, sir.
The men are in a room, sir.
Say this room.
Lots of people downstairs.
And Man "A," the killer, he plans to use a gun.
Then the shot would be heard.
Not with a silencer, sir.
He also would have to get rid of the gun.
He would have to hide the gun.
So the killer brings an umbrella with him.
May I see your umbrella, sir? An umbrella to conceal a gun? Audacious and foolhardy, I would say.
But you may test your theory, if you wish.
Oh, I don't have a gun, sir.
Never carry one.
The killer has a gun.
With a silencer.
So you said.
You see, sir, the killer plans to put the gun in the umbrella and then hide the umbrella in the fireplace and take it away some other time.
Ah! But then there would be soot on the umbrella.
You are absolutely right, sir.
There would be soot.
Now, there is a second use for the umbrella.
You see these, sir.
They're like loud firecrackers.
We call them squibs.
Now the killer plans to fake some shots because the victim is already dead.
I suggest that the squibs would leave bits of paper when they explode.
Telltale evidence.
That's why, sir, the killer plans to catch the shreds in here.
Most ingenious, Lieutenant.
But wouldn't the squibs leave burns, scorch marks? Now, this umbrella, for instance, is quite unmarked.
You are absolutely right, sir.
But suppose this were the killer's other umbrella.
Oh, I forgot to tell you, sir.
Last night when I was at your house, I took the wrong umbrella.
Excuse me, sir.
Just one moment.
I took yours.
It was an honest mistake, sir.
And we're not allowed to get evidence that way.
But as long as I had it, the lab found burns from the squibs.
And lots of soot, sir.
I see.
Now, tell me this, Lieutenant.
How were the squibs detonated? The killer is a very intelligent man, sir.
I put the squibs in the umbrella and the gun.
We'll pretend that this is the gun.
Now, the killer wedges the umbrella up the chimney.
You can't be serious.
Oh, I am, sir.
I am.
Absolutely serious.
Now, we'll just pretend that this umbrella is up the chimney.
Now, these wires, sir.
They're attached to a battery and the same kind of squibs.
Now, we'll just put these in the umbrella.
And we'll run this wire, sir, right over here to the Victrola.
We push the play button.
And we attach the wires here and here, where I showed you those scratches.
Preposterous nonsense.
Now the killer knows when the record will end.
Yes, yes, you've demonstrated all that.
And when the arm comes over it will make contact.
First here exploding one squib and then here exploding the second.
But the body fell between the two shots.
Yes, sir.
That's where the killer has to take a very big chance.
The dictionary has a line here, dividing it in half.
So it can be balanced on the edge.
You see, sir? Like this.
Clever but too unpredictable.
Important for the illusion, sir.
The sound of the body falling.
You've got it.
But impossible to time.
But this killer is very smart, sir.
Can he make the book fall between the two shots? Oh, yes, sir.
How? Triggered by what? I'll show you.
He would have to be a genius.
I think so too, sir.
Now I don't mean to imply that I thought of this all by myself.
I mean, some of the smartest people in the world are right here in this club, and they helped me, sir.
They helped me a lot.
They're dunces, the lot of them.
Danziger, the president of the club, you wouldn't call him a dunce.
Oh, wouldn't I? Well, it was his idea.
The book, the vibrations Vibrations? What are you talking about? The first squib, sir.
He really made it sound very simple.
When the squib goes off, it produces vibrations.
And that knocks the book down.
That Danziger is a genius! Vibrations? That nitwit.
The man who conceived all this, you've made him out to be a bungling ass! No! This is what he would've done.
There! There! Oh, my.
Oh, my.
Lieutenant Columbo.
Oh, yes, Mrs.
He's right here.
For you, sir.
Yes? I'm so sorry, darling.
Please come home.
Come to bed.
I need you.
Alas, my dear, I shall not be needing you anymore.
Was it the record player? Yes, sir.
First it was the record player.
Why would anybody start it in the middle? I should have changed the cuing.
That bothered you? Will you be taking me in? No, sir.
Someone will be along.
Lieutenant, what did you say your IQ was? I really don't know, sir.
It must be very high.
My own is We have a test here.
Oh, here.
I'm really not very good at that sort of thing, sir.
You'll be surprised at yourself.
We can go directly to the more difficult questions.
Ah, yes, here we are.
Lieutenant, I'm going to give you four words.
And you tell me which one does not belong.
Asphalt, uncle, delight, leave.
Which word doesn't belong? Asphalt, uncle, delight, leave.
Well, let me see.
We got Uncle Sam.
Dutch uncle.
Asphalt's the word, sir.
Because you can have Turkish delight, French leave and Dutch uncle.
All nationalities.
Lieutenant, have you ever considered a different line of work? Me, sir? No.
I couldn't do that.
Crying for you And as I sit here and sigh Says I, "I can't believe it's true" Boo-hoo, I tell my mama on you The little game that you played Has made her baby oh so blue